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SoftBound: Highly Compatible and Complete Spatial Memory Safety for C

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Executive Summary

The serious bugs and security vulnerabilities facilitated by C/C++'s lack of bounds checking are well known, yet C and C++ remain in widespread use. Unfortunately, C's arbitrary pointer arithmetic, conflation of pointers and arrays, and programmer-visible memory layout make retrofitting C/C++ with spatial safety guarantees extremely challenging. Existing approaches suffer from incompleteness, have high run-time overhead, or require non-trivial changes to the C source code. Thus far, these deficiencies have prevented widespread adoption of such techniques.

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